Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Job guarantee vs. income support program in Argentina

Pavlina R. Tcherneva argues that job guarantee program and income support plan should be combined to bring out an employer-of-last-resort programs in Argentina. Tcherneva argues: “An examination of the Argentine experience based on survey evidence and fieldwork reveals that poor women overwhelmingly want paid work opportunities, and that a policy such as the JG or the ELR cannot only guarantees full employment and macroeconomic stabilization, but it can also serve as an institutional vehicle that begins to transform some of the structures and norms that produce and reproduce gender disparities.”

Tcherneva evaluates the transformation of Argentina's Plan Jefes, a job guarantee program, to Plan Familias, an income support plan, and finds that it represents a step backward for women by removing a number of benefits and reinforcing gender stereotypes. Paid work matters to women, says Tcherneva, and public employment plays a special role in providing an opportunity to work outside the home, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable of this group.

Employer-of-last-resort (ELR) programs can enhance individual well-being, so the role of fiscal policy extends beyond the goals of full employment and economic stability. The best way to combine the goals of basic income and job guarantees is to design a universal program in the form of an ELR, supplemented by a universal child allowance and income support for the sick and the retired.